According to the feds, when District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams received the gift of a custom-made, chocolate-colored sofa worth $3,212, he texted the business owner who had gifted him and asked, "How would you like me to repay you?"
"Stop it," the man identified in the 23-count, 50-page indictment of Seth Williams as "Business Owner #1" texted back. "I don't expect anything when I gift my friends : ) Enjoy."
So Seth Williams kept on taking free gifts that he didn't report. A Louis Vuitton tie worth $205. An iPad worth $300. A $7,000 check, and $2,000 in cash. A Burberry watch for Williams, a Burberry purse for his girlfriend. A preowned 1997 Jaguar XK8 convertible worth $4,160. Free airline tickets and a vacation in Las Vegas worth $2,000.
A Punta Canta resort vacation worth $4,805 that included "royal service" bracelets, access to a private beach, and personal butler services at their luxury suite. And a second free vacation in Punta Cana that included a stay in a "Royal Service Presidential Suite."
While he was the city's top prosecutor, Rufus Seth Williams kept on taking bribes and extorting more free gifts.
"I am merely a thankful beggar and I don't want to overstep my bounds in asking," Williams texted Business Owner #1 about a second free trip to Punta Cana, "but we will gladly go."
Even if they were criminals. And even if he was abusing his official position to do favors for them, or their criminal friends.
"In the future always give me at least a week to help a friend," Seth Williams wrote when Business Owner #1 asked for Seth's help in lowering a prison sentence that the district attorney's office had sought for a criminal who was a friend of the business owner's.
The favors Seth did for Business Owner #1 shockingly included "limiting screening by law enforcement authorities at the United States border," the feds wrote in their indictment of Williams. Those favors the D.A. was willing to do for his friend included using police contacts and his own official position to let the business owner back in the country after a trip abroad.
In return, the business owner pledged in a text message that he would never do anything to "bring suspicion" on Seth.
" I care about you," wrote the business owner who later rolled over on Seth. Next, the business owner dispensed some flattery.
"I want to see you the next mayor and the next governor and maybe the next president," he wrote Williams.
The favors that Seth Williams did for a man identified in the 23-count of Williams as "Business Owner #2" included the issuing of an official badge that made the business owner a "special advisor to the District Attorney's Office."
Even though Business Owner #2 had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of tax federal tax evasion, and was sentenced to three years probation and a 30,000 fine.
In a letter to vendor who made the special badge and a leather case, Williams wrote, "Attached please find an invoice for the badge and wallet [Business Owner # 2] wanted He paid for my trip in 2009 to visit the D.A. in San Diego and D.A. of San Francisco. He has given $$$$, will max and will host events at his bars."
"Have you flashed your badge lately" Rufus Seth Williams texted his special advisor. And then he paid for the badge and leather badge-holding case with $141 taken from his political action committee, according to the feds.
Williams also asked Business Owner # 2 to buy him airline tickets for a Key West vacation for Seth and his girlfriend.
"And not to be greedy but maybe we can all go to your place in San Diego before you sell it " Williams wrote Business Owner # 2 about a vacation home that the business owner planned to sell.
"Not greedy at all," the business owner texted back.
"What type of assignments would you like as Special advisor?" Rufus Seth Williams texted Business Owner # 2.
Another time Williams needed personal advice when he ran into money troubles that he blamed on his girlfriend.
"I may call you from a random pay phone tonight," Williams texted Business Owner # 2. "My problems stem from [girlfriend] not helping with utility bills, but enjoying heat, electricity, cable, water and food."
In the meantime, Williams, according to the 23 count indictment issued Tuesday, was always looking for more handouts. While he was engaging in bribery, extortion, wire and honest services fraud, the feds wrote.
Some of the most damning words in the indictment came from Williams himself, in the form of text messages.
So Williams, with family members in tow, took a trip to Florida worth $856. Then, he accepted free gifts and lodging from Business Owner # 2 for a San Diego vacation worth $2,000.
It was Business Owner #2 who also supplied Seth with a preowned 97 Jaguar XK8 convertible worth $4,160. And a free vacation for Seth in Las Vegas worth $2,000. Plus $900 in cash.
But perhaps the most shocking crime in the Williams indictment was when the feds accused the D.A. of raiding the pension and Social Security income for an elderly relative, money that was supposed to be spent on the relative's care in a nursing home.
The name of the relative is not stated in the 50-page indictment. The Inquirer, however, which has great prosecution sources, has identified the elderly relative as Williams' own mother.
The money included $10,319 deposited into a joint back account that Williams shared with the elderly relative. The money was supposed to be spent on the elderly relative's care in a nursing home.
Instead, Williams defrauded the the nursing home for $10,319, which was diverted "for his own personal benefit," the feds wrote about Seth Williams.
Williams, the feds said, also did the same with a $10,000 check that was given to him by a couple of friends. The money was intended to be spent for the care of his elderly relative, the feds wrote. Instead, the feds wrote, Williams spent the entire amount "for his own personal benefit."